Will Frankenstorm Faze Halloween? Romney/Ryan Endorsement Treats: NH, MN, OR, CA

Romney supporters are ready for Halloween in Wilton, Connecticut. Oct 25, 2012
(photographer unknown)

In spite of Hurricane Sandy, dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’, on this All Hallow’s Eve most of the nation’s merry little folks in masquerade will participate in traditional Halloween activities.

Trick-or-treating is a go in storm damaged New York City; Mayor Michael Bloomberg is urging ghoulies, ghosties, and long-leggety beasties to stay away from affected areas and be cautious. According to the latest news report I heard today, Gov Chris Christie, who characterized damage in his state as “too widespread for words”, was still considering issuing an executive order to cancel Halloween in New Jersey until the situation stabilizes somewhat in his state. Given that Christie was touring storm damage this afternoon with Obama, it appears Halloween is a go in The Garden State. Various other cities affected by the super storm Sandy will postpone Halloween frolics until this coming Saturday.

UPDATE (1:21 PM PT): Governor Chris Christie has announced that New Jersey will celebrate Halloween next Monday, November 5, 2012 (election eve!).

While continuing to call upon supporters to be mindful of victims from Hurricane Sandy and to donate to the Red Cross, Governor mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan are back into the ‘spirit’ of things and are campaigning. Today Governor Romney is campaigning in Florida with former FL Gov Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio. Congressman Ryan is spending the day holding events in his home state, Wisconsin, and as the moon rises tonight, will be free to go trick-or-treating with his wife Janna, and three children.

Meanwhile, things that go bump in the night may be the sound of looters and spooks on the left are outrageously baring fangs over Romney’s storm relief efforts. Even though Obama told bone rattling Biden “now is not the time for politics” Joe was up to his usual hocus pocus and also hinted at a 2016 run for the White House. Yikes for America.

Obama will be back on his thorny campaign trail tomorrow, so beware!

Meanwhile, in spite of the double, double, toil, and trouble, the ENDORSEMENT cauldron continues to boil and bubble for the GOP ticket!

Nashua Telegraph (NH)
October 30, 2012

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com

Mitt Romney For President

Four years ago, with little hesitation, we endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama to become the 44th president of the United States, saying it was a time for “new leadership, a new approach to governing, a new way of conducting the people’s business.”

After several hours of spirited debate, not unlike conversations taking place in kitchens and living rooms across America, we reached a consensus that he had not. Perhaps more importantly, when we identified the key challenges facing the nation – jobs, the economy and the national debt – we concluded he was not the best candidate to meet them.

That person is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and we hereby endorse him to become the 45th president of the United States.

As we noted when we endorsed Romney for the GOP nomination prior to the New Hampshire primary in January, Washington is broken. In order to fix it, it will take a strong leader willing to roll up his sleeves and work directly with the heads of both parties to carve out the best possible solutions.

We believe Romney has demonstrated that he can do that; the president has had four years to demonstrate that he can’t.

True leaders also don’t wait until two weeks before Election Day – in the form of a 20-page booklet, no less – to lay out a specific agenda for the next four years. Coupled with the negative tenor of the campaign, that merely confirms the president and his strategists felt that attacking Romney’s agenda was more politically expedient than releasing one of their own.

Nevertheless, we are confident Romney is the candidate who would tackle the serious issues facing this nation, starting with jobs, the economy and the debt. In the end, we couldn’t say the same about the president.



Speaking of hobgoblins, David Axelrod, senior strategist for Obama’s reelection campaign, today declared he would “shave my mustache if Obama loses Minnesota.” Come on! Let’s make Axelfraud break out his razor! While traditionally a ‘blue-wall’, the race is tightening enough that Romney is now buying ad time in The North Star State. Check out the endorsement below:

West Central Tribune (MN)
Editorial
Oct 27, 2012

http://www.wctrib.com/

Romney vote is right for president

[T]he president’s first term has not been full of successes.

He moved on health care reform, pushing through legislation without bipartisan support, resulting in a legislative backlash which gridlocked Congress.

This administration has been unsuccessful in reducing the unemployment rate in the United States, with 43 long months with the rate above 8 percent.

Economic growth has remained stagnant through most of his first term. The three-year recovery has been very slow, poverty is up, family incomes are down and housing has been in a slump.

The scary issue facing America this Halloween is a looming fiscal crisis. There is the gigantic budget deficit $5 trillion deeper than when Obama took office. And a looming fiscal cliff deadline at the end of year, when automatic cuts of $100 billion from federal budgets and tax increases of $400 billion, happen unless Congress and the administration make a deal.

For various reasons, Obama has not been a uniting force and has not found a way to work with his Republican opposition.

Four years ago a nation tired of two wars, high deficit spending and an unfolding economic crisis sought a change. The country’s voters chose a young senator from Illinois to lead us forward.

There has been fair criticism of the Republican leaders of Congress who vowed to obstruct the president in the last two years, just as Obama had a Democratic control and didn’t work with Republicans in the first two years of his administration.

And both political parties are to blame for not having the political fortitude to deal with America’s growing fiscal crisis.

On Nov. 6, west central Minnesota voters face a choice for president. We all agree that Washington is broken and not functioning, much like a baseball team that is not winning. There is a time when a change is needed and a new manager is brought in to get the team refocused.

Republican Mitt Romney is seeking to bring that change to Washington. He is promising a new brand of leadership, an economic focus to create jobs and fiscal prudence to work on the budget deficit.

Romney has demonstrated his leadership in private business, in state government and in the 2002 Olympics.

He is a successful businessman, who earned his wealth through investment and decision-making strategies. He has spent the majority of his life in private business and said he knows how to grow jobs.

In 1999, Romney was brought in to resolve the scandalous crisis at the Salt Lake City Olympics. He addressed the situation, calmed sponsors, developed new leadership, controlled spending and staged an excellent Winter Olympics.

In 2002, he was elected governor of Massachusetts and faced an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. He worked with that Legislature to control spending, restructure state government and eliminated a $3 billion state government deficit.

America needs a change in leadership to refocus the country and its economy toward a strong and vibrant country. This country cannot afford to slip back into another recession so soon.

We believe Romney is the right choice for president on Nov. 6.

(There’s more!)

Newspaper Endorsements Pour In for Romney/Ryan: NH, MA, WV, TX, MI, VA, NY, D.C.

Photo – Al Behrman / AP

Like a waterfall, newspaper editorial board endorsements for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan continue to pour in…

Foster’s Daily Democrat (NH)
Editorial
October 24, 2012

http://goo.gl/9AhMb

It’s Now Time To Decide

If you had already made up your mind going into Monday night’s presidential debate, nothing said probably changed your mind. But for those who were undecided, there certainly was some food for thought.

But what was lacking on the part of the president was a vision for the future and credibility based on the past. The current commander in chief repeatedly accused Romney of reaching back into history for failed policies of the past both home and abroad. The president summoned images of President Herbert Hoover and others which history has deemed failures. In doing so, Obama tried to gloss over his own history of failed promises — on unemployment, on balancing the budget, cutting the deficit and — as we believe — earning the respect of our overseas allies.

Admittedly, Obama’s failures center mostly around domestic policy — Romney’s strength. But as Romney pointed out Monday night, in order to be strong and respected on the international stage, the United States must be strong economically.

As readers know, there is no doubt on the part of the editorial board here at Foster’s Daily Democrat new leadership is needed from the White House. We believe all three debates — but especially the first — support that notion. We believe that, on balance, the debates have shown Mitt Romney to be the more capable and with a vision for the future — a vision President Obama has failed to offer.

On Nov. 6, we urge voters to give Mitt Romney a chance to offer the nation real hope and change.



Boston Herald
Editorial Staff
October 23, 2012

http://www.bostonherald.com

Romney’s The One

Four years ago the voters put their faith in a man who offered vague promises of hope and change at a time when any change looked like a good idea and hope was in short supply.

What this nation got in Barack Obama was a president who used an economic crisis to further his redistributionist agenda — and, not surprisingly, failed miserably at restoring American prosperity. Oh, he brought change all right — to a government-knows-best philosophy that has given us four years of high unemployment, higher gas prices, a $16 trillion deficit, and a job-killing regulatory environment.
..
Enough! This isn’t the kind of change anyone can believe in.

The other simple fact is that in Mitt Romney voters have not merely a safe and steady alternative but a proven leader and an extraordinarily skilled expert in the art of the economic turnaround.

He did that all over again for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

What Romney knows at the core of his being is that sometimes government must step aside and sometimes it must lead.

Last night the nation saw a man who in the area of foreign policy is prepared to lead, who knows that for the United States to remain safe it must reclaim its place on the world stage.

During the last four years the world has become a more dangerous place. We can’t afford four more years of a leadership vacuum.

Not when in Mitt Romney voters have the choice of a strong, smart hand on the helm, a decent, caring man, who lives his faith, who loves his country and would serve it well. For all of those reasons, the Boston Herald is pleased to endorse Mitt Romney for president.

So much more! Click here.

Newspapers Endorsements Pouring In For Romney/Ryan: OH, FL, PA, NV, NH, MA, AZ, TX

Sixteen days to go.

Newspaper editorial boards across America are endorsing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan!

Three days, 12 endorsements:

Columbus Dispatch
Editorial
October 21, 2012

http://www.dispatch.com

For President

After nearly four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy that have paralyzed the private sector, the United States needs a new direction. For this reason, The Dispatch urges voters to choose Republican Mitt Romney for president in the Nov. 6 election.

Four years after promising hope and change, and after a deficit-driving $787 billion stimulus program, here is the result:

• 12.1 million unemployed, with an unemployment rate above 8 percent for 43 of the past 44 months.

• 8.6 million working part time because they can’t find full-time work

• 2.5 million who wanted to work, but have stopped looking for jobs.

• In 2009, real median household income was $52,195. By 2011, it had fallen to $50,054

• In 2009, the U.S. poverty rate was 14.3 percent. By 2011, the poverty rate climbed to 15 percent.

• On Obama’s watch, 12 million more Americans joined the food-stamp program, which has reached a record of more than 46 million enrollees.

• Annual federal budget deficits above $1 trillion for the past four years, increasing the national debt to an all-time high of $16 trillion.

Obama has failed. That is why Mitt Romney is the preferred choice for president. Romney’s adult life has been spent turning around troubled private and public institutions. These turnarounds include scores of companies acquired and restructured by Bain Capital, the investment firm he founded in 1984. Not all were successes, but that is because to a significant degree, many of the companies Bain took on were high-risk. In 1999, he was asked to take over the scandal-plagued and fiscally mismanaged 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He quickly streamlined its management, fixed its finances and guaranteed its security, turning it into a success. As governor of Massachusetts, he made tough decisions to lead the state out of a budget deficit, and he did so in a state dominated by Democrats.

As a career businessman and former governor, Romney brings a wealth of executive experience in the private sector and the public sector that dwarfs that of Obama. From working both sides of the government/private-sector equation, he understands how that relationship can aid or impede prosperity. His election would be an immediate signal to the private sector that someone who knows what he is doing is managing the nation’s economic policy. The effect on business confidence would be dramatic and immediate, and business confidence is the vital ingredient needed to spur investment and hiring, the two things that the United States so desperately needs.

In 2008, Americans made a leap of faith when they elevated the inexperienced Obama to the White House. That faith was not rewarded. This time, voters should place their hopes for change in experience, by electing Romney.



Orlando Sentinel
Editorial
October 19, 2012

http://www.orlandosentinel.com

Our Pick For President: Romney

Two days after his lackluster first debate performance, President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes got a timely boost. The government’s monthly jobless report for September showed the nation’s unemployment rate fell below 8 percent for the first time since he took office.

If that were the only metric that mattered, the president might credibly argue that the U.S. economy was finally on the right track. Unfortunately for him, and for the American people, he can’t.

We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.

Now the president and his supporters are attacking Romney because his long-term budget blueprint calls for money-saving reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, three of the biggest drivers of deficit spending. Obama would be more credible in critiquing the proposal if he had a serious alternative for bringing entitlement spending under control. He doesn’t.

[T]he core of Romney’s campaign platform, his five-point plan, at least shows he understands that reviving the economy and repairing the government’s balance sheet are imperative — now, not four years in the future.

Romney has a strong record of leadership to run on. He built a successful business. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature to close a $3billion budget deficit without borrowing or raising taxes….

But after reflecting on his [Obama's] four years in the White House, we also don’t think that he’s the best qualified candidate in this race.

We endorse Mitt Romney for president.



Oh, there’s lots more! Click here.

Romney on Obama’s Speech Tonight: Americans Want A Report On President’s Promises

From Concord New Hampshire today, Mitt Romney remarked on what Obama should say tonight…

President Obama needs to report on his promises (audio):

ROMNEY: “I actually think it will be interesting to listen to the President tonight. What I’d like him to do is report on his promises but there are forgotten promises and forgotten people. Over the last four years, the President has said that he was going to create jobs for the American people and that hasn’t happened. He said he would cut the deficit in half and that hasn’t happened. He said that incomes would rise and instead incomes have gone down. And I think this is a time not for him not to start restating new promises but to report on the promises he made. I think he wants a promises reset. We want a report on the promises he made. And that means let’s hear some numbers. Let’s hear 16. Sixteen trillion dollars of debt. This is very different than the promise he made. Let’s hear the number 47. 47 million people in this country on food stamps. When he took office, 33 million people were on food stamps. Let’s understand why it was he’s been unsuccessful in helping alleviate poverty in this country. Why so many people have fallen from the middle class into poverty under this president. Let’s have him explain to the American people the 50 percent number. Why 50 percent of college graduates can’t find work or work that is consistent with their college degree. The President needs to report tonight on his promises rather than try and reset a whole series of new promises that he also won’t be able to keep.”

Any chance we’ll hear those things from Obama?

Nah.

This is what we’re going to hear:

By Gary Varvel – Sept 6, 2012



Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

The Genius of Milton Friedman — Capitalism Preserved

Milton & Rose Friedman / Photo: Corbis

Four days ago, The Wall Street Journal published an outstanding article by Stephen Moore titled, The Man Who Saved Capitalism. One of the reasons President Reagan’s economic policies were so successful was because he relied upon the advice and wisdom of Milton Friedman. The entire article is worth reading. I am convinced liberals will never understand the genius of Friedman. If you ever want to have some fun, look up the numerous YouTubes of Friedman eviscerating the brightest of liberals. Here are some excerpts of Moore’s excellent article (also, see a great video at the WSJ URL):

It’s a tragedy that Milton Friedman—born 100 years ago on July 31—did not live long enough to combat the big-government ideas that have formed the core of Obamanomics. It’s perhaps more tragic that our current president, who attended the University of Chicago where Friedman taught for decades, never fell under the influence of the world’s greatest champion of the free market. Imagine how much better things would have turned out, for Mr. Obama and the country.

Friedman was a constant presence on these pages until his death in 2006 at age 94. If he could, he would surely be skewering today’s $5 trillion expansion of spending and debt to create growth—and exposing the confederacy of economic dunces urging more of it.

In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from (more…)

Massacre in Colorado! Mitt Romney Releases Statement

UPDATE - Governor Romney spoke on the Aurora, CO shooting at a previously-scheduled campaign event event today in Concord, New Hampshire. Romney and Obama both cancelled campaigning for the day.

Early morning scene outside the Century 16 Movie Theaters in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo U.S. News)

MASSACRE IN COLORADO!

Governor Mitt Romney’s statement on this morning’s tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado:

Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”

Livesteam updates may be viewed here. (UPDATE 5:42 AM PT: Livestream link has been updated – refresh page then click on link).

MRC offers our thoughts and prayers for all affected by this horrific tragedy.

Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

Romney Considering Woman as VP Running Mate (CBS Interview)

Early this morning, CBS published a brief segment of an interview of Mitt and Ann Romney from New Hampshire.

In this CBS interview, the reporter asks Ann Romney:

“Do you think he should nominate a woman?”

Ann replies,

“We’ve been looking at that and I’d love that option as well.”


American Values: “Liberty” — “In God We Trust” — “E Pluribus Unum”

Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist

Romney’s ‘Every Town Counts’ Bus Tour / FOX & Friends: “Obama Out of Touch”

A look at Governor Mitt Romney's campaign bus last week in Iowa.
Romney is kicking off a six state bus tour this Friday. (Photo Jennifer Jacobs/The Register)


Check the oil and gas ‘er up! Road trip!

Governor Mitt Romney will be back in his campaign bus this Friday to begin a six state Believe in America: Every Town Counts five-day bus tour.

The kick-off takes place where it all began for him last June – at beautiful Scamman Farm in Stratham, New Hampshire. It’s where Mitt and wife, Ann, served up crock-pots full of her homemade chili to a large crowd of supporters. It’s also where the Governor, under blue skies and a blustery breeze, stood on a crop harvester bed, surrounded with hay bales, and announced his presidential candidacy.

Besides New Hampshire, Romney’s bus tour will carry him over highways and byways in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan, giving him the opportunity to meet with and listen to families and business owners in small towns.

Romney’s press release hit the unemployment nail on the head:

“For three and a half years, President Obama has paid little attention to the everyday concerns of the American people,” Mitt Romney said. “President Obama has offered no hope for the future, and he has left American families to bear the burden of his failed policies. Too many American families have experienced a lost job, faced foreclosure, or been forced to spend their kids’ college savings just to make ends meet. These are not statistics – these are our fellow Americans. In America’s small towns, you don’t find despair — you find boundless optimism. We know we can make America better, and that is why I am running for president.”

Henry Gomez from Cleveland.com points out how Romney is aggressively making his presence felt on turf where Obama has recently been:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Republican Mitt Romney will sandwich President Barack Obama’s campaign appearance in Cleveland this week with Ohio events of his own, the latest example of cutthroat “bracketing” in this year’s race for the White House.

Romney will attend a private fundraiser Wednesday in Cincinnati, the evening before Obama’s speech at Cuyahoga Community College.

Romney previously bracketed an Obama trip by sending his campaign bus to Lorain County Community College in April, when the president delivered a speech at the Elyria campus. The following day, Romney campaigned miles away at a hollowed-out drywall factory in Lorain. The Republican challenger also came to Euclid last month, two days after Obama officially kicked off his re-election bid in Columbus.

‘Believe In America: Every Town Counts’ bus tour

• Friday, June 15 – New Hampshire

• Saturday, June 16 – Pennsylvania

• Sunday, June 17 – Ohio

• Monday, June 18 – Wisconsin and Iowa

• Tuesday, June 19 – Michigan

Residents in these six states will get to experience how much Governor Romney cares about the plight of ordinary everyday Americans and how much he wants to help.

If you missed it, The Gov was on FOX & Friends this morning to talk with hosts Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade. It was a quick, great interview :



When Carlson asked Romney about Obama’s press tour, which was a ‘clean-up’ response to his “private sector is fine gaffe”, he mentioned Obama’s ignoring the effect Obamacare is having on small businesses, Obama’s outlandish characterization of the state of the private sector, and the fact that 15% of Americans are unemployed, under-employed, or stopped working.

Romney: “The President is really out of touch with what’s happening in America.

Kilmeade: “He says that you’re out of touch. He says that you want to cut firefighters, and teachers – that you don’t understand what’s going on in these communities. What do you say to that, Governor?

Romney: “Well, that’s a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers, and firemen, and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters, or policemen. So, obviously, that’s completely absurd. He’s got a new idea, though, and that is another stimulus – and, to have the federal government send money to bail out cities and states. Didn’t work the first time; it certainly won’t work the second time.”

Look below the fold to see a few photos of that happy day when Governor Romney announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination. ——-> (more…)

Mitt Romney & Barack Obama — Side-by-Side

Today, our family spent the afternoon at a beautiful beach called Aliso Creek in Laguna Beach, CA. Next to us was a couple and a friend of theirs speaking a foreign language I could barely hear. When the two men (both about 30) stood up and were chatting, I approached and asked where they were from. They said, “Latvia” and told me they were speaking Russian. One has lived in the U.S. for eight years and the couple was visiting America from Latvia. I asked the resident if he is American and he told me, “Not yet.” I asked him if he could vote today, whom would he vote for between President Obama and Romney? With no hesitation, he said, “Oh, Romney!” I asked why he would not vote for President Obama? He said, “I think he has been president long enough. He really hasn’t done much and it is time he goes away.”

Is there much else to write about? No. Check out Michael Ramirez’s latest political cartoon just below.

Nuf said?

Michael: Governor Romney is more fit than this! Love your art!

Artwork by Michael Ramirez


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Mitt Romney’s Liberty University Commencement Address

Governor Mitt Romney's Commencement Address (FOX)


Governor Romney delivered a powerful commencement address to the graduating students of evangelical Christian Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia earlier today. This speech was historic for many reasons.

Before Governor Romney spoke, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. addressed the commencement day crowd of approximately 34,000. He reminded the audience that his father, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, founded the university in 1971 to be for evangelical Christians “what Notre Dame is to young Catholics and Brigham Young is to young Mormons.”

The introduction for Governor Romney begins at 25:27 with remarks from Chancellor Falwell and Mark DeMoss, Chairman of Liberty University. (You don’t want to skip the intros!):

If that video gives you problems, click here to watch the address on Youtube.

By Mitt Romney

For the graduates, this moment marks a clear ending and a clear beginning. The task set before you four years ago is now completed in full. To the class of 2012: Well done, and congratulations.

Some of you may have taken a little longer than four years to complete your studies. One graduate has said that he completed his degree in only two terms: Clinton’s and Bush’s.

In some ways, it is fitting that I share this distinction with Truett Cathy. The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A. Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and there were days that we needed a lot of comforting. So, Truett, thank you and congratulations on your well-deserved honor today.

There are some people here who are even more pleased than the graduates. Those would be the parents. Their years of prayers, devotion, and investment have added up to this joyful achievement. And with credit to Congressman Dick Armey: The American Dream is not owning your own home, it is getting your kids out of the home you own.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches. And let’s just say that not everybody has achieved as much in these last four years as you have.

That’s a theme for another day. But two observations. First, even though job opportunities are scarce in this economy, it is not for nothing that you have spent this time preparing. Jerry Falwell, Senior, long ago observed that “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.” America needs your skill and talent. If we take the right course, we will see a resurgence in the American economy that will surprise the world, and that will open new doors of opportunity for those who are prepared as you are.

Of course, what the next four years might hold for me is yet to be determined. But I will say that things are looking up, and I take your kind hospitality today as a sign of good things to come.

I consider it a great life honor to address you today. Your generosity of spirit humbles me. The welcoming spirit of Liberty is a tribute to the gracious Christian example of your founder.

In his 73 years of life, Dr. Falwell left a big mark. For nearly five decades he shared that walk with his good wife Macel. It’s wonderful to see her today. The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one. Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary. Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.

I will always remember his cheerful good humor and selflessness. Several years ago, in my home, my wife and I were posing for a picture together with him. We wanted him to be in the center of the photo, but he insisted that Ann be in the middle, with he and I on the sides. He explained, by pointing to me and himself, “You see, Christ died between two thieves.”

Maybe the most confident step Jerry ever took was to open the doors of this school 41 years ago.

He believed that Liberty might become one of the most respected Christian universities anywhere on earth. And so it is today.

He believed, even when the first graduating class consisted of 13 students, that year after year young Christians would be drawn to such a university in ever-greater numbers. And here you are.

Today, thanks to what you have gained here, you leave Liberty with conviction and confidence as your armor. You know what you believe. You know who you are. And you know Whom you will serve. Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here. Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.

That said, your values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul the Second, and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ. May that be your guide.

You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal. Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter. His conclusion: Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.

The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.

The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.

As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.

But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man. Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.

Religious freedom opens a door for Americans that is closed to too many others around the world. But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us.

Someone once observed that the great drama of Christianity is not a crowd shot, following the movements of collectives or even nations. The drama is always personal, individual, unfolding in one’s own life. We’re not alone in sensing this. Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life.

And, in the way of lessons learned, by hitting the mark or by falling short, I can tell you this much for sure.

All that you have heard here at Liberty University – about trusting in God and in His purpose for each of us–makes for more than a good sermon. It makes for a good life. So many things compete for our attention and devotion. That doesn’t stop as you get older. We are all prone, at various turns, to treat the trivial things as all-important, the all-important things as trivial, and little by little lose sight of the one thing that endures forever.

No person I have ever met, not even the most righteous or pure of heart, has gone without those times when faith recedes in the busy-ness of life. It’s normal, and sometimes even the smallest glimpses of the Lord’s work in our lives can reawaken our hearts. They bring us back to ourselves – and, better still, to something far greater than ourselves.

What we have, what we wish we had – ambitions fulfilled, ambitions disappointed … investments won, investments lost … elections won, elections lost – these things may occupy our attention, but they do not define us. And each of them is subject to the vagaries and serendipities of life. Our relationship with our Maker, however, depends on none of this. It is entirely in our control, for He is always at the door, and knocks for us. Our worldly successes cannot be guaranteed, but our ability to achieve spiritual success is entirely up to us, thanks to the grace of God. The best advice I know is to give those worldly things your best but never your all, reserving the ultimate hope for the only one who can grant it.

Many a preacher has advised the same, but few as memorably as Martin Luther King, Jr. “As a young man,” he said, “with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow. But to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

In this life, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family.

My Dad, George Romney, was a CEO, a governor, and a member of the President’s Cabinet. My wife Ann asked him once, “What was your greatest accomplishment?” Without a moment’s pause, he said, “Raising our four kids.”

Ann and I feel the same way about our family. I have never once regretted missing a business opportunity so that I could be with my children and grandchildren. Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn’t one of them.

As C.S. Lewis is said to have remarked, “The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.”

Promotions often mark the high points in a career, and I hope I haven’t seen my last. But sometimes the high points come in unexpected ways. I was asked to help rescue the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

I’m embarrassed now to recall that when this opportunity was first presented to me, I dismissed it out of hand. I was busy, I was doing well, and, by the way, my lack of athletic prowess did not make the Olympics a logical step. In fact, after I had accepted the position, my oldest son called me and said, “Dad, I’ve spoken to the brothers. We saw the paper this morning. We want you to know there’s not a circumstance we could have conceived of that would put you on the front page of the sports section.”

The Olympics were not a logical choice, but it was one of the best and most fulfilling choices of my life. Opportunities for you to serve in meaningful ways may come at inconvenient times, but that will make them all the more precious.

People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology. Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview. The best case for this is always the example of Christian men and women working and witnessing to carry God’s love into every life – people like the late Chuck Colson.

Not long ago, Chuck recounted a story from his days just after leaving prison. He was assured by people of influence that, even with a prison record, a man with his connections and experience could still live very comfortably. They would make some calls, get Chuck situated, and set him up once again as an important man. His choice at that crossroads would make him, instead, a great man.

The call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character. It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen. Sometimes, as Dr. Viktor Frankl observed in a book for the ages, it is not a matter of what we are asking of life, but rather what life is asking of us. How often the answer to our own troubles is to help others with theirs.

In all of these things – faith, family, work, and service –the choices we make as Americans are, in other places, not choices at all. For so many on this earth, life is filled with orders, not options, right down to where they live, the work they do, and how many children the state will permit them to have. All the more reason to be grateful, this and every day, that we live in America, where the talents God gave us may be used in freedom.

At this great Christian institution, you have all learned a thing or two about these gifts and the good purposes they can serve. They are yours to have and yours to share. Sometimes, your Liberty education will set you apart, and always it will help direct your path. And as you now leave, and make for new places near and far, I hope for each one of you that your path will be long and life will be kind.

The ideals that brought you here … the wisdom you gained here … and the friends you found here – may these blessings be with you always, wherever you go.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Photo - Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Governor Romney’s speech built an inter-faith bridge:

Some students, such as J.D. Wilkinson, a worship and music studies major from Springfield, Massachusetts, told CNN that they liked that Romney spoke out on the same-sex marriage issue.

“This school has always been about being not politically correct, just saying it, just telling the truth how it is and I thought he did that,” Wilkinson said. “I think that’s fresh in today’s world and I think that’s needed.”

Another, Michael Kildare, said he doesn’t identify strongly with a particular political party but is open to hearing more about Romney after today’s speech. Kildare, who is from Orlando, Florida, will return to his home city to take a job as a computer technician.

I was kind of skeptical at first but he definitely said some things that I have to take into consideration,” he said. “He’s definitely a good candidate for the presidency and I definitely look forward to his other speeches and other campaign ideas.

(emphasis added)

Congratulations and best wishes to the graduates!